We all want more love in our lives. Often, we wait for love to find us, hoping that others will give us the kind of love we long for. We wish for the perfect partner to come along, a parent to change or a friend to treat us right. We need others to love, accept, and make us feel good. But, whether it is friendship, family, or intimate relationships, our capacity for real, loving experiences really depends more on us than on them.

If we desire healthy relationships with others, it is imperative to first create one with ourselves. We all want people in our lives who are understanding, committed and love us unconditionally, but if we do not act accordingly towards ourselves how can we expect others to do so? If we attract people who cannot accept us, it is likely we do not accept ourselves. As long as we treat ourselves unlovingly, we can expect others to do the same. If we don’t think we deserve any better, better will not come along.

Self-love is certainly not an easy task, because somewhere along the line we were led to believe we were not worthy or lovable enough. We allowed outside influences to shape our view of who we are and be in charge of our significance rather than going within for approval. By going within, we can access the true essence of who we really are — divine beings of love. If it is true that we are created in the image of the Divine and the Divine is Love, then what else could we possibly be? We are created in love; thus we are love and as worthy as the next person.

This is a hard concept for many of us to digest, because we were raised with the belief that we are sinners, not lovers. We were taught, and continue to be reminded of what is wrong with us instead of what is right. When we were labeled “bad boy” or “bad girl,” we developed the mistaken belief that we are our negative behaviors. Unconsciously, we became overly identified with our actions and began to not love ourselves. As adults, we still may engage in negative or hurtful behaviors, but we have a choice in how we let those behaviors define us. An addiction, for example, is a behavior that is harmful but it does not make someone any less of a person.

Until you have a foundation of love for yourself, you will continue to encounter difficult and unfulfilling relationships. Each time you feel unloved, step back and ask yourself: How can I love myself more? If you feel you are not getting your needs met in a relationship, use it as a place for practicing self love either by standing up for yourself or getting out. And, instead of putting the responsibility on others for making you happy, make yourself happy.

It all comes down to shifting the way you think. If loving yourself is a prerequisite for truly loving relationships, you need to change the illusion that you are unlovable, unworthy or not good enough. With the help of Love, you can change your mind about anything, including your self-worth. Love is the essence of the Greater Spirit/God/the Universe. When you allow yourself to listen to Love, you are listening to a Higher presence. The more you listen for Love, the more you see the truth about yourself and the deeper you resonate with your divine nature.

The best way to begin loving yourself is to allow the spirit of Love inside your heart. Love is there for the taking, each and every day, when you ask and then allow yourself to receive. This can be done easily through prayer or meditation. Simply imagine what love would say to you and start replacing your negative thoughts with loving ones. Love will always tell you that you are good enough, worthy and lovable, but it is up to you to believe it. Whatever you choose to believe about yourself, will come true for you.

You cannot afford to wait for something or someone to fill you up with love. Love already lives inside you; thus, it is up to you to call on its immense healing power. Access a higher Love, because the people you are waiting for to give you the kind of unconditional love you need will never be able to. And, once you learn to really love and accept yourself, you will attract the kinds of people who can love and accept you back. Remember the “law of attraction” — what you put out there, you get back!

Attracting love means being love.

Lisa Venable, M.A. is an author, inspirational speaker and spiritual psychotherapist. Lisa's mission is to help people live from their heart instead of their limiting ego and create a world where Love prevails. Lisa provides stress management training for nurses, social workers and adults with aging parents. Lisa also facilitates a volunteer program, "Love Angels" that provides comfort care to nursing home residents. Visit www.messagesfromlove.com

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